Looking For Fritz

After my Mum died at such a young age both myself and my sister-in-law decided we had to sit down with my Grandmother and ask her about her parents and also what she knew of my Grandad’s family and where they came from.

She was in her 90’s at this point and we did not know how much time we had left with her. I was so thankful we did this, not only did we get the names of my Grandad’s parents and his siblings, but he also found out information about her family that without it I would never have found her or her parents in the records – however more about that later, let’s keep to Grandads family.

I began my search for my ‘foreign’ Great Grandad in the traditional way by sending for his marriage certificate in 1884 and looking for him in the census records. On his marriage certificate we finally had his full name – four forenames! All I’d had up to now was his ‘family name’ of Fritz so this was a definite step forward. I need to point out here that when I began this research 20 years ago not many census records were available online. We only had from 1841 up to the 1891 census.

The first possible mention of him was in the 1881 census in Walthamstow. This was the right area, but I couldn’t be certain it was him as Fritz was a common nickname for those with Friederich in their name. What proved I had the right man was in 1891 he was still in Walthamstow, and he was with his wife and children. For his place of birth, he put Germany. – we finally knew where he came from hurrah; however, Germany is a big place so the search hadn’t ended.

Now we had to work out where in Germany, bearing in mind that when he was born – in approx1860, Germany wasn’t actually a country but a collection of small States, Principalities and Duchies.

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